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Before driving to Indianapolis on the morning of the 28th, I was told, “No one quite knows what to expect from Snake Pit”.
Snake Pit is and will forever be a triumphant “Gateway to Summer”. With thousands in the infield, and tens of thousands more packing the stands for the 500, the energy is unlike anything I’ve experienced at a festival. Crowds of 20-somethings and older men and women alike, sporting lime-green wristbands, streamed past the race crowd into the gates of the Pit, to confront a massive and elaborate stage. What would come later was an experience unlike any other.
Due to traffic, my day began with a performance by Adventure Club, a Canadian-based duo famous for Lullabies and Rise and Fall. Despite the earliness of the morning, the pit was filled to the brim, and fans and race-goers alike marveled at the pyrotechnic spectacles and deep base filling the air at 7:30.
RL Grime then took the stage with a burst of sunlight on an otherwise cloudy day, and accompanied by dancers and a screaming crowd, he launched into some of his most revered work, including Golden, Aurora, Waiting and Reims.
The legend Action Bronson followed up, and if one thought that Ric Flair would be the cult appearance, they were sorely mistaken. After smoking a hefty blunt (which was later flicked into the crowd, to much screaming), Bronson performed most of Mr. Wonderful, tied in with some rather hefty banter with his DJ, and commentary on the event as a whole.
After the beginning of the 500, and with much anticipation, marshmello finally graced the stage of Snake Pit. Dressed in his signature helmet as well as a race suit, the masked phenom performed an electrifying set, with Keep it Mello, Magic, and Chasing Colors bringing the crowd to a frenzy. Coupled with the start of the race, the set was easily the most enjoyable I’ve experienced at a festival, and being in the pit, surrounded by fans, flames and water cannons was something I certainly hope to experience again.
After his predecessor retreated, Zedd took the reigns, performing a wide variety of tracks from both Clarity and True Colors. It’s always a pleasure seeing him perform, I’ve seen no other DJ with quite the same capacity to get a crowd seeing along to a largely instrumental variety of music.
Despite the long day ahead, Snake Pit seemed to hold its own as an event, a spectacle of music, dancing and revelry for both the city of Indianapolis, as well as people wanting to experience the legend of a tradition that spans decades. Snake Pit might have changed drastically in the last 40 to 50 years, but the attitude certainly hasn’t. The race? Sure, it’s great. One would be remiss, however, not to experience the treat of fire, water and absolute adoration that packs the infield during the Indianapolis 500, 7 hours of pure enjoyment, spectacle, and powerful moments. It’s an event I’ll certainly intend to attend in coming years. My summer would be incomplete without it.
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